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Stock Trading Platforms and Apps

17 minutes
Beginner
Cristian Cochintu
Cristian Cochintu
21 March 2024

Modern technology and web development make it possible to trade securities using multi-functional computer software — trading platforms and stock apps.

Want to jump straight to one of the best stock trading software? Most of our users prefer the CAPEX WebTrader app for browsers. 

What are Stock Trading Platforms and Apps

Stock Trading Platforms and Apps are computer programs that traders use to trade and analyze financial products such as stocks, bonds, and derivatives over a network with a financial intermediary, usually a stockbroker. Investors can use stock trading platforms and apps to place trades from any location. Stock trading software directly contrasts with the traditional floor trading method that employs an open outcry system to place orders. 

   
Web I Android I iOS

The number of stock trading platforms and stock applications for trading and analysis has continued to expand in recent years. While growing competition and innovation is great news for investors, it can be challenging to decide which trading software best suits your goals.  

The growth of stock trading apps has coincided with the evolution of user preferences, with a growing number of people opting to mainly manage their money through tablets or smartphones. Trading software has embraced this transition by focusing on improving its mobile app experiences.  

Brokers’ desktop trading platforms have historically had more features and capabilities than mobile, but the experiences and functionality have increasingly become virtually interchangeable. This improved consistency between mobile and desktop provides investors with a more synchronized experience in terms of alerts, watchlists, and updates, while also improving the ease with which you manage your trades and monitor your investment goals. 

Common Features of Stock Trading Platforms and Apps 

Some of the key features included in stock trading software include: 

Order placement 

Most trading software allows users to place new orders, including market orders, limit orders, and other order types. Users can also look up real-time prices, and track trading statistics for the day, the win rate for the day, and the profit or loss on closed trades. 

Technical analysis 

Trading software provides various tools such as interactive charting, chart patterns, and technical indicators to allow users to analyze stocks and check any trends in security movements. Users can also customize certain items in their charts, such as resistance lines, indicators, and sector comparisons, and save the customizations for future reference. 

Programmatic trading 

Some trading software includes programmatic trading functionality to allow users to execute trades automatically, without the need to click a button manually to perform a certain function. Users are also able to test how the automated trading system performs when given certain commands. 

Paper trading 

Paper trading is a riskless virtual money trading functionality that is incorporated in most so-called stock simulators. Such functionality allows users to test their skills using no-real-money trades before committing actual capital. Users can test various strategies to see what works without risking their real money. 

Web I iOS I Android

Categories of Stock Trading Platforms and Apps

There are many types of stock trading software and tools, but all of them can be divided into online, web-based, offline, or desktop (also called client-based) trading platforms, and mobile trading apps. While all have their advantages and disadvantages, online stock trading platforms tend to dominate in the number of beneficial features. 

Stock trading applications for browser 

The online stock trading platforms allow you to start trading on the exchange and futures markets from any browser and operating system, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can access the rich set of functions that are available in the desktop trading software directly on the web, which means you can analyze financial quotes and trade without downloading or installing any application. You can access your account and start trading in just a couple of clicks. Trading on the Web platform is safer, while any transmitted information is securely encrypted. 

If the installation of desktop trading software or a mobile stock application is not possible, the web platform offers the perfect solution for every trader.  

With the web trading app, all you need to have is an Internet connection! 

Stock Trading Apps for Desktop 

Stock trading apps for desktops offer superior tools for comprehensive price analysis, and often use algorithmic trading applications (trading robots, Expert Advisor) and copy trading. Unlike a web-based stock trading application, which provides non-stop data on the market and prices if you have an Internet connection, the desktop version is downloaded and installed directly on your computer and the data is stored on the hard disk. An Internet connection is still required for information updates and trading software upgrades. 

The latter variant is less advantageous as compared to web trading software. First, it restricts your flexibility as you can track the market condition only from the computer the trading software is installed on. Second, storing all the sensitive data on the hard disk makes it very vulnerable in case of virus and hacker attacks. Therefore, security is the major concern for this type of stock trading application and appropriate measures need to be taken to protect the data from being viewed, altered, stolen, or affected in any other harmful way. 

Perhaps, the only advantage of the desktop variant over the web-based one is that even a slow Internet connection will suffice. In other words, you can get access to the powerful tracking and trading tool with any type of Internet connection you have. In opposed to this, web-based trading software needs a broadband connection to deliver the best results. 

Stock trading applications for mobile 

Stock apps are having a bit of a moment: While previously there were only a few popular ones, the mobile stock-trading field has exploded in the last years. Online stockbrokers have clamored to up their game in order to compete with the rise of newcomers. 

All of that is good news for consumers: the best stock apps now nearly mirror powerful desktop and web stock trading platforms, with advanced functionality, analysis tools, research, and watch lists.  

If you're looking to place trades on the go the installation of a stock app for iOS or Android on your smartphone or tablet allows you to stay informed with financial information and conduct trade operations.

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Some of the best Stock Trading Platforms and Apps

We review some of the best stock trading platforms and stock apps below.  

1. MetaTrader 5 – the most popular trading software in the last years 

mt5 trading software
 

MetaTrader 5 (MT5) is the next-generation trading platform from MetaQuotes, following on from the hugely popular MetaTrader 4 (MT4). While MT4 was optimized for leveraged trading and mainly forex trading, MT5 is functionally intended to accommodate more asset classes which include exchange trading. MT5 is the ideal multi-asset trading software for the modern stock trader who seeks to enhance their trading experience using a choice of powerful and effective new features as well as highly practical trading tools and resources. 

The trading software has won the prestigious Finance Magnates Awards 2020 in two different categories. MetaTrader 5 was categorized as the best Forex trading and multi-asset trading platform. 

Flexible trading system 

MetaTrader 5 delivers a powerful trading system with Market Depth and a system of separate accounting of orders and trades. It supports both order accounting systems: the traditional netting system and the hedging option system. Four order execution modes are available to meet various trading objectives: Instant, Request, Market, and Exchange execution. The trading software supports all types of trade orders, including market, pending, and stop orders, as well as trailing stops. 

Professional technical analysis 

The platform represents the all-in-one concept and offers impressive analytical tools. It allows an opening of 100 charts of stock quotes at a time. The 21 timeframes available enable a comprehensive detailed analysis of all minor price movements. More than 80 technical indicators and analytical tools, including graphic objects, provide detailed analysis of quote dynamics. 

Fundamental analysis 

Fundamental analysis is another tool that can be used to forecast the price dynamics of financial instruments. The aim of fundamental analysis is the constant monitoring of various open-source economic and industrial indicators. Original fundamental data is available straight from MetaTrader 5 software for trading stocks and other assets, including futures contracts, stock indexes, bonds, ETFs, currency pairs, commodities, or cryptocurrencies. 

News reports from international news agencies are broadcast directly into the platform, providing you with essential financial information. The economic calendar features the main macroeconomic indicators of different countries, allowing traders to analyze their impact on various financial instruments. 

Trading signals and Copy Trading 

No time for manual trading or analyzing the markets? That's not a problem: subscribe to a signal of a successful trader, and MetaTrader 5 will automatically reproduce all his trades on your trading account. Choose from hundreds of free and paid signals available for demo or live accounts with the preferred risk level and profitability. Subscribe to the selected signal provider in just a few clicks, and your trading software will trade automatically for you. You may choose to monitor trading results or completely rely on the signal behavior. 

2. CAPEX WebTrader – one of the best web trading software 

Created to improve user experience, the web-based trading software supports an interactive trading activity with high-end research tools that help traders interpret market data. 

1. Daily Analyst Ratings 

One of the most popular tools of the CAPEX.com platform is the Daily Analyst Ratings. Regardless of whether you are a newbie or an experienced trader, browsing through many expert analyses and information to reach a trading decision can be exhausting. 

CAPEX.com platform simplifies the process by bringing you the top recommendations for the day, all in one place. Offered by TipRanks, a market leader in ranking financial experts, this tool allows you to check the opinions of top-rated analysts regarding price movements across various assets. 

For instance, the tool offers analyst rankings on various stocks, based on their performance, across a scale of 0 to 5 stars.

CAPEX.com platform Daily Analyst Ratings
 

With the rankings of top financial analysts at your fingertips, making an informed decision becomes more manageable.  

  • Analysis consensus: This feature brings together data from financial experts from some of the biggest financial institutions in the world, such as JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and Credit Suisse, who have made recommendations over the past 3 months regarding a specific stock. 
  • Analyst Price Targets: With this, you can check out the quarterly data on target prices expected over the next 12 months offered by the same top financial experts who provide the consensus. 

2. Bloggers' Opinions 

Another innovative tool embedded in the CAPEX.com platform, Bloggers Opinions allows traders to check the opinions of well-known bloggers tracking various financial instruments. This tool also helps you to identify the top experts in each sector and then monitor their views consistently. By tracking and measuring the performance of over 50,000 financial experts, this tool can identify the top experts within each sector who consistently outperform the markets. 

stock analysis software
 

3. Insider’s Hot Stocks 

To find out when and who buys or sells a stock, before you trade, all you need to do is select this tool from the CAPEX.com platform. You will then be able to view a list of the most popular companies chosen by TipRanks. Since all the transactions conducted by board members and directors of the listed companies are updated continuously, all the data in the list is fresh. 

capex platform Insider’s Hot Stocks
 

4. Hedge Funds Activity 

CAPEX.com platform provides a Hedge Funds tool, to help you discover how popular a trading instrument is with hedge fund managers. These finance professionals are responsible for ensuring the best returns for their investors and making sound investment decisions. So, gaining insight into whether hedge fund managers are increasing or decreasing their holdings in a particular asset can provide signals on the expected future performance of that asset. 

CAPEX.com platform Hedge Funds
 

5. News Sentiment 

The News Sentiment tool shows what's been relevant in the media for your favorite stocks in the previous week. It uses the full potential of Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms to analyze thousands of news websites and pages, listing the most impactful stories. 

News Sentiment identifies the most used words that relate to a particular stock, then evaluates the overall direction of these words and calculates the relevance and importance. The result is a bullish or bearish trend indicator. 

On its dashboard, you have: 

  • the News Sentiment 
  • the Media Buzz
  • the News Score 

Capex platform News Sentiment
 

The News Sentiment Insight reflects the consensus of either positive or negative news in the past week. 

The Media Buzz section shows the total volume of news articles and media coverage over the same time period. 

The News Score Tool offers a final verdict on your chosen stock. Depending on how media coverage affects prices, it can be positive, negative, or neutral. 

 

3. Trading Central – Top Stock Analysis Software 

A vital part of a trader's success, especially those who trade frequently, is the ability to evaluate the patterns in trading data. Technical analysis techniques can remove emotion from a trading decision. A technical analysis system can generate buy and sell indicators and help locate new trading opportunities. With the improvements in software and the speed of accessing millions of data points over the past 15 years, stock analysis software is available to all online traders. 

Most of the better sites that offer technical analysis tools also guide new traders toward a fundamental understanding of the core concepts. Some of these resources are free or included in a broker's stock trading platform or stock app, but others charge a fee.  

stock analysis software
 

Trading Central is a technical analysis tool built into brokers' offerings and integrated into trading software, including CAPEX WebTrader. Some of the most popular features that make Trading Central one of the best stock trading analysis software are: 

Instrument Intraday 

Indicates whether an instrument is forecasted to remain bullish or bearish throughout the day. Highly useful for traders when shaping their intraday trading strategies and decisions. 

Pivot 

Indicates the price point at which an instrument is predicted to change from bullish to bearish and vice-versa. Pivot point prices may help traders identify potential buy/sell opportunities which help to build an effective trading strategy. 

Trading Central preference 

Indicates Trading Central’s preferred trading strategy at that moment, including preferred trade duration (long or short-term) when an instrument reaches a specific price. 

Alternative scenario 

Indicates an alternative trading strategy to Green Analysis. Data can include the price point at which an instrument may indicate signs of falling and the likelihood of it falling further, highlighting the target price points to look out for. 

Comment 

Offers data on pivot price points, forecasted market momentum, RSI (Relative Strength Index), and price break points. Such data can potentially be very valuable in helping traders identify trading opportunities in relation to market and instrument movements. 

Released 

Shows the precise GMT date and time that indicator data was released by Trading Central. This is fully customizable allowing users to choose which indicators they’d like to show data for. 

Resistance 

Highlights price levels at which an instrument price may continue to rise. This may potentially show when an asset hits a low price before it may continue to rise. 

Support 

Reveals price levels at which an asset may continue to fall. This can be very valuable to traders looking to sell when an asset approaches a support level. 

4. TradingView - Most Advanced Stock Analysis and Charting Platform 

Launched in 2011 by visionary trio Stan Bokov, Denis Globa and Constantin Ivanov, over the years TradingView has garnered an esteemed reputation as a comprehensive trading, charting, and social networking solution for the financial community. With a myriad of advanced features and interactive tools, the platform accommodates traders of all skill levels.

The platform’s users have access to a vast range of technical analysis indicators, drawing tools, and customizable charts. Additionally, TradingView facilitates global market data coverage, ensuring that traders have real-time information at their fingertips.

There are many ways in which you can utilize TradingView to enhance your trading experience. As one of the most advanced stock investment platforms, it equips traders with an extensive range of exclusive TradingView tools and features designed to support market analysis and informed decision-making.  

  • Advanced charts: Users can choose from various chart types including Japanese candlesticks, Heikin Ashi, Renko, Kagi, and many more, as well as multiple time frames and themes, making it easier to analyze price movements and identify patterns. TradingView also enables simultaneous comparison of different assets or time frames through customizable multi-chart layouts.  
  • Technical indicators: TradingView boasts a vast selection of over 100 in-built technical indicators, including Moving Averages (MA), Relative Strength Index (RSI), Moving Average Convergence / Divergence (MACD), Bollinger Bands, candlestick pattern recognition, and many more, which can help traders analyze market conditions and trends.
  • Drawing tools: The investment platform offers an extensive suit of drawing tools that allow users to annotate their charts and perform detailed technical analyses. Some of these tools include trend lines, Fibonacci retracements, support/resistance levels, and many more.
  • Trading alerts: Users can set custom alerts based on price levels, technical indicators, or specific events, ensuring they stay informed about significant market movements. These alerts can be delivered via visual popups, audio signals, email alerts and email-to-sms alerts, and also PUSH notifications sent to a mobile phone.
  • Financial analysis: TradingView also incorporates fundamental tools such as valuation ratios and analysis, financial statements, as well as historical company data, to help traders perform fundamental analysis.  
  • Market data coverage: The investment app provides extensive market data coverage, encompassing stocks, foreign exchange (forex), commodities, and more.
  • Pine script: TradingView allows users to create their own indicators, strategies, and alerts using the platform’s Pine ScriptTM programming language.

TradingView is a valuable resource for traders and investors of various backgrounds and interests, regardless of their skill level, the asset class they are trading, or their strategy.

How to Trade on CAPEX.com with TradingView Charts

Our deep integration with TradingView is designed to help you upgrade your trading experience with lightning-fast charts, indicators, & more.

Sign in or create an account 
You need to open your CAPEX.com account to enable TradingView charts. Submit your application in just five minutes and log in to add funds quickly and securely via debit card or bank transfer.
Claim your TradingView Chart  
Email us at support@capex.com, call us or contact our live support. CAPEX.com users do not have to pay any additional fees to use the advanced charting system by TradingView.
Connect to TradingView Chart  
Select TradingView Chart from Platform Settings and unlock TradingView’s powerful charting tools with CAPEX.com.

 

Choosing Trading Software 

Most brokers and software developers allow potential clients to test out their software before committing to buy it or open an account with the broker. Take advantage of this by trying out several pieces of stock trading platforms, stock apps, and stock analysis software. See which tools and features you like and utilize. Then weigh the pros and cons of the broker (if applicable) and their commissions. 

Features 

When choosing a trading platform, traders and investors should consider whether the features offered meet their trading style. Day traders and other short-term stock traders may require features such as Level 2 quotes and access to market-depth information such as price levels, order size, and volume to assist them in timing their orders.  

Swing traders and other medium-term stock traders may need to backtest their trading strategies. 

They may need technical analysis tools such as live charts with a range of technical indicators. Buy-and-hold and other long-term stock investors may need tools that are specifically designed to help them research, analyze, and maybe automatically build a stock portfolio. 

Fees 

Fees are also important to consider when choosing a stock trading platform. For example, traders who employ scalping as a trading strategy will gravitate towards platforms with low fees. In general, lower fees are always preferable but there may be trade-offs to consider. For example, low fees may not be advantageous if they translate to fewer or less powerful features. 

Provider 

Some stock trading platforms aren't connected to a specific intermediary or broker. Conversely, some stock apps are only available when you work with a particular intermediary or broker. As a result, investors should consider carefully the reputation of the intermediary or broker before committing to a specific trading software to execute trades and manage their accounts. Be sure a provider stands solidly behind all that a platform offers. 

 

Is CAPEX WebTrader the best online stock trading platform for you? 

Here are some of the reasons why people choose to trade and invest in stocks and other assets with CAPEX WebTrader. 

Trading 

Take full control over each trade in just a few clicks, using the range of helpful features in our easy-to-use deal ticket: 

  • Get an instant overview of market prices, spread, and margins with our simple, clean design 
  • Manage risk and protect your profits with stops and limits in account currency, pips/points, or percentages during normal market conditions 
  • Choose your preferred currency to keep conversion charges down 
  • Trade automatically by setting orders to open at your chosen level, then choose their expiry date or close manually 
  • Set alerts to trigger when a market moves an amount, hits a price level, or meets your technical conditions
  • Find dealing specs in the ‘information’ tab – minimum stop distances and trade sizes, margin factors, and more 

Charts 

Get to the heart of price action and seize your opportunity with our fast, clear, smart charts. 

  • Track performance across timeframes, from tick-by-tick to monthly 
  • Compare up to four timeframes on a single chart
  • Create advancing charting layouts for multiple symbols
  • Perform in-depth analysis with 90 technical indicators (including MACD, RSI, Stochastics, ADX, Ichimoku, ATR, Parabolic Sar, Moving Averages, and Bollinger Bands) and several drawing tools (including Fibonacci, harmonic patterns, trendlines, and channels)
  • Experience stable and effortless dealing supported by HTML5 technology, on any browser
  • Deal in an instant, direct from charts – open, close, and edit your positions in a couple of clicks 

Research and Analysis 

  • Patented pattern recognition constantly monitors the markets 24/7. 
  • Trendlines, the pivot points for trend reversals, and alternative scenarios for improved risk management. 
  • Insiders’ Hot Stocks to develop a broader perspective of the market with this handy tool showing you the high-level executives’ transactions on their company’s stocks 
  • Daily Analyst Ratings to spot relevant market movements by checking what top-rated financial analysts (according to TipRanks) declare about the price evolution in the stock market 
  • Bloggers' Opinions to discover the best-performing financial bloggers (according to TipRanks) and start monitoring them to get valuable stock market information
  • Hedge Funds Activity to see what professional hedge funds managers are investing in and how their hedge funds fare against each other:
  • News Sentiment to discover what’s been relevant in the media for your favorite stocks in the previous week!  

 

This information prepared by capex.com/za is not an offer or a solicitation for the purpose of purchase or sale of any financial products referred to herein or to enter into any legal relations, nor an advice or a recommendation with respect to such financial products.This information is prepared for general circulation. It does not regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation or the particular needs of any recipient.You should independently evaluate each financial product and consider the suitability of such a financial product, by taking into account your specific investment objectives, financial situation, or particular needs, and by consulting an independent financial adviser as needed, before dealing in any financial products mentioned in this document.This information may not be published, circulated, reproduced, or distributed in whole or in part to any other person without the Company’s prior written consent.
Past performance is not always indicative of likely or future performance. Any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of capex.com/zaJME Financial Services (Pty) Ltd trading as CAPEX.COM/ZA acts as intermediary between the investor and Magnasale Trading Ltd, the counterparty to the contract for difference purchased by the Investor via CAPEX.COM/ZA, authorised & regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission with license number 264/15.  Magnasale Trading Ltd is the principal to the CFD purchased by investors.

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Cristian Cochintu
Cristian Cochintu
Financial Writer

Cristian Cochintu writes about trading and investing for CAPEX.com. Cristian has more than 15 years of brokerage, freelance, and in-house experience writing for financial institutions and coaching financial writers.